Improving Children's Attitudes Toward Refugees: An Evaluation of a School-Based Multicultural Curriculum and an Anti-Racist Intervention1

Authors

  • Rhiannon N. Turner,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Psychological Sciences
      University of Leeds
      Leeds, United Kingdom
      Rhiannon Turner, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. E-mail: r.n.turner@leeds.ac.uk or Rupert Brown, Department of Psychology, Pevensey Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, BN1 9QH, UK. E-mail: r.brown@sussex.ac.uk
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  • Rupert Brown

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Sussex
      Sussex, United Kingdom
      Rhiannon Turner, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. E-mail: r.n.turner@leeds.ac.uk or Rupert Brown, Department of Psychology, Pevensey Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, BN1 9QH, UK. E-mail: r.brown@sussex.ac.uk
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  • 1

    The research reported in this paper was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The authors thank Penny Graham and Gill Casebourne at the Kent Refugee Action Network and Dover District Council for providing the Friendship Project resource pack and for locating schools to take part in the research. We also thank Clark McCauley, Ifat Maoz, Richard Crisp, Andrew Baum, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful advice and comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Rhiannon Turner, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. E-mail: r.n.turner@leeds.ac.uk or Rupert Brown, Department of Psychology, Pevensey Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, BN1 9QH, UK. E-mail: r.brown@sussex.ac.uk

Abstract

We evaluated the impact of the Friendship Project, a program designed to improve elementary school children's attitudes toward refugees. Participants either received 4 weekly lessons based on the program, or they received no lessons. All participants completed attitude measures before and after implementation of the program. Half completed the post-test 1 week after completion of the program, while the other half completed the post-test 7 weeks after its completion. The program led to more positive attitudes toward refugees in the short term, but not in the long term. Moreover, although it did not increase empathy, the program increased the proportion of participants who preferred an acculturation strategy of integration and reduced the number of participants who had conflictual acculturative fit.

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